Former Tennessee State University coach John Merritt often tells the story of how Richard Dent - member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011 - was recruited to the school. Dent came from religious family in the Atlanta area. Assistant coach Joe Gilliam accompanied Merritt on the trip. The first thing Merritt did was get down on his knees and open the bible. That was all they needed to do to convince him TSU was the right place.
Here are 10 more things you probably didn't know about Dent:
» Coming out of college, Dent was an undersized defensive end. He ran a 4.83 40 at the combine, not great for the position. But people were just realizing at the time the idea of pass rusher as a specialist.
» In 1984, Dent's second season with the Bears, he led the NFC with 17.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl -- despite not starting until the seventh game of season.
» In 1985, Dent led the NFL with 17 sacks, and then was named MVP of Super Bowl XX. Lost in the Bears' domination of that game is the fact that Dent was going against an all-pro left tackle in New England's Bruce Armstrong.
» In his 15-year career, Dent played for four teams. One reason he moved a lot was his status as a specialist - his play against the run was not as good as it needed to be.
» Dent was one of the pioneers of forcing fumbles by coming from the quarterback's backside and batting the ball out of his hands.
» One of quickest first-move players off the line that you'll ever see, Dent's style was very similar to that of Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney.
» Dent had been a finalist for the Hall of Fame seven times before gaining election.
» Dent is the first Hall of Famer from Tennessee State.
» The first quarterback ever sacked by Dent was fellow Hall of Famer Joe Montana, on Nov. 27, 1983.
» From 1984-88, Dent recorded five straight seasons with 10 or more sacks.